Developing a successful cloud migration strategy

Cloud migration, viewed in its most simplistic form, is not unlike a physical world move of business assets from one place to another. In that sense, all of the “real world” considerations still apply – how will the business operate without disruption during the transition phase? Will the business be operating completely from the new location, or will it be a hybrid operation, running from two locations?

Working in the cloud to learn the cloud

A Cloud Guru is itself typical of a cloud-based operation and offers a cloud learning path in various areas, such as providing technical training for AWS, Azure, GCP, and Linux certification exams and other cloud technology-related courses.

Active participation in an immersive laboratory-style cloud-based experience is perhaps one of the best ways to develop fluency and a deeper understanding of cloud operation.

Preparing for cloud migration

Returning to the physical world analogy, preparing a solid plan and rollout timeline for the intended move is vital.

The intended cloud migration could be a move from brick and mortar premises to cloud operation or a move from an outdated operating system (“legacy infrastructure”) to cloud technology. In any case, the fundamentals of preparation remain the same and involve the same first steps:

  • Establish goals and a timeline. Setting KPIs for the intended cloud migration is an important first step and provides a measure for the success of the transition.
  • Ensuring data security. Whether it be a hybrid or dedicated cloud-based operation, data security and operator access levels must be considered. In the same way that the physical “hard” network is protected by a “network perimeter” or firewall, a cloud firewall must be considered. Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS) is the term for cloud firewalls that run in the cloud and are provided by a third-party vendor who carries the responsibility for updating and maintaining the virtual firewall.
  • Data transfer. Having selected a cloud and firewall provider, the next step will involve transferring and replicating data.
  • Transfer production from physical premises to the cloud. Essentially, this is the cutover point at which the cloud-based operation goes live, and the migration phase is complete. Dependent upon the operation, the physical infrastructure is then decommissioned, or the legacy infrastructure is maintained as a part of a hybrid operation.

Which strategy should the business adopt?

The Gartner method identifies five different ways of migrating operation to the cloud:

  • Rehost: This can be thought of as doing exactly the same thing, but on a different server (the cloud). It is perhaps the fastest method, as it does not involve changes to system architecture.
  • Refactor: This strategy involves the reuse of existing code and frameworks and simply running applications on the cloud provider’s platform.
  • Revise: This deeper step involves rewriting or expanding the code base and then rehosting or refactoring.
  • Rebuild: This alternative involves a complete rewriting and re-architecting of applications and essentially takes advantage of the features and innovations of the cloud provider’s platform. 
  • Replace: This involves the discarding of present applications and substitution of “turn-key” ready-built commercial applications supplied by a third-party vendor.


Whatever configuration the cloud migration takes, the migration decision should be considered a process of optimizing and expansion. Therefore, developing a roadmap and formulating objectives and a timeline are vital in determining the best operating configuration and in gauging post-migration success.